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Blizzard CM Zeriyah announced balance changes to Leeroy Jenkins and Starving Buzzard in a post on the Hearthstone General forums Friday.  According to the announcement, the changes are the last balance updates that will be made to Hearthstone’s “extended base set” prior to the Hearthstone World Championships.  The target date for the balance changes to go live is September 22.

Hearthstone is Blizzard’s codified CCG set in the Warcraft universe, featuring spells, characters, and pop culture icons from the Warcraft series of games, including MMORPG World of Warcraft.  In Hearthstone, players assemble decks of 30 cards and do battle with other players or AI.  The first player to reduce the life total of their opponent from 30 to 0 wins the game.  Hearthstone’s card set features class specific cards from each of vanilla WoWs 9 character classes, as well as a set of neutral minions to facilitate players in the deck building process.

The Leeroy Jenkins character was a protagonist in a farcical WoW machinima set in WoW’s Upper Blackrock Spire dungeon.  The video became popular inside and out of WoW circles; similarly, Leeroy became a notable pop culture figure.  In Hearthstone, Leeroy Jenkins is a 4 mana cost legendary rarity minion with 5 attack and 2 health that can attack the turn it comes into play, and summons 2 dragon whelps for the opponent.  Leeroy is most commonly used in decks to deal a high amount of damage in a single turn from a position of little to no board strength.

The ability of Leeroy to swing Hearthstone games seemingly from out of nowhere appeared to many forum goers and players to be in conflict with the Card Balance Philosophy post made by Hearthstone lead designer Eric Dodds in January.  Since then, several patches with balance changes had come and gone, but Leeroy Jenkins remained constant, until now.  Leeroy’s cost is increasing from 4 to 5.

Starving Buzzard is the key component of the Hunter class’s ability to draw cards en masse mid game.  Buzzard costs 2 mana for 2 attack and 1 health that allows the player to draw a card when that player summons a Beast minion.  When used in combination with Unleash the Hounds, Buzzard can result in a Hunter drawing many cards in a single turn.  Card draw is one of the most powerful mechanics in general in CCGs; Hearthstone is no exception to this rule.  Buzzard’s cost is increasing from 2 to 5, but its attack and health are increasing to 3 and 2, respectively.

As has been the case with previous Hearthstone balance updates, both Leeroy and Starving Buzzard will be disenchantable for full crafting value after the changes go live.  For many players, this change will be looked at as one that is a long time in coming and a step in the right direction.  For others, this change will be looked at as Blizzard interfering with specific deck archetypes in response to forum outcries.  You can see the full post by following this link.

TechRaptor Nation sound off:  Are you in favor of the Leeroy and Starving Buzzard changes or against them?


Todd Wohling

A long time ago on an Intellivision far, far away my gaming journey started with Lock n' Chase, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons The Cloudy Mountain, and Night Stalker. I earned both a BS-Physics and a BS-Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Today I spend most of my time on PC. I left a career of 14 years in aerospace in Colorado, so I could immigrate to Norway.